• procedural sedation;
  • ketamine;
  • bone marrow biopsy;
  • lumbar puncture


Background:  The aim of the study was to determine the efficacy and adverse effects of intravenous (i.v.) ketamine sedation administered by nonanesthetist physicians for painful procedures.

Methods:  A single-agent, procedural sedation protocol using titrated doses of ketamine i.v. (maximum 2 mg·kg−1) was conducted in outpatient pediatric oncology patients undergoing lumbar puncture (LP), bone marrow biopsy/aspiration (BMBx/A) or combination (LP/BMBx/A) in a tertiary care setting. The efficacy of analgesia and sedation (ability to perform the procedure), procedure duration, recovery time and the occurrence of adverse events are described.

Results:  Fifty-eight subjects of a median age of 5 years (1–13) and median weight of 20 kg (10.5–68) underwent 119 sedations. An LP was performed in 73% of cases, a BMBx/A in 13% and LP/BMBx/A in 13%. Efficacy was 100% and the mean dose of ketamine was 1.3 mg·kg−1 (0.4). The mean duration of the procedure was 6.6 min (4.2) and the recovery time was 11 min (4–45). Two subjects (1.7%) had a hypoxemia (SpO2 of <94%). No major airway complications occurred. The prevalence of hypertension (systolic > 20% at 5 min) was 54%. The median pain visual analogue score (VAS) for an observer was 0 (range 0–3) and caregiver was 0 (range 0–4). The median VAS for satisfaction (observer) was 10 (range 7–10) and caregiver VAS was also 10 (range 5–10). At 24 h after discharge, the incidence of bad dreams was 3.3%; vomiting, 10.8%; and abnormal behavior, 4.2%.

Conclusion:  Ketamine i.v. up to 2 mg·kg−1 is an effective sedative for oncology procedures using a defined protocol.